This is a question that we frequently get asked by our clients. It seems like an important one; if you have just surveyed many of your customers to measure NPS you need to know what this number really means. However the answer to this question is not straight-forward and can depend on many factors.
As we are a b2b specialist research company, we will focus this article on b2b markets (b2c markets tend to score very differently and often much higher!). Often when we are asked this question we will answer with ‘the average b2b NPS is 33’. This is the average score that we have collected for all our clients over the past 5 years globally. It has gone up and down a little in that time but this is a good starting point.
However, knowing this average doesn’t tend to be enough. If 33 is average then what is good? Instead of looking at good, we often then refer to ‘best-in-class’. If we look at the best scores that we have collected in b2b markets then the top scores are in the range 65-70. This is a large jump from 33, and perhaps a daunting score to achieve from your starting point.
The next focus might be looking at the scores of your competitors and other scores in your industry. We have measured NPS scores for a wide range of industries, and there are some sectors that score significantly better and others much worse. The chart below shows where industries tend to sit in our experience:
It is worth bearing in mind that each of these sectors is diverse, and that our averages do not necessarily give you a measure against your direct competitive set. This does guide us however, on which industries tend to receive higher NPS scores and which are more likely to measure worse. The only absolute way to find out the answer about your competitors is to ask their customers yourself.
An additional word of caution when looking at NPS ratings is to consider the geography of the NPS you measured. We have found that there is consistently differences in the way different cultures place their sentiment on a 0 to 10 scale. The map below shows how average NPS scores can vary by different continent. The Americas are known to often give more positive ratings than Europeans. Even within a continent however there can be significant variation – Mexico is often the most likely country to give you a 10, whereas Canada is one of the least likely to flatter you. Putting your NPS in context of whom you asked the question to in the first place is important.
In summary, there is not a right answer to the question ‘what is a good NPS?’; it very much depends on your perspective. Our advice is to take moving your NPS one step at a time. It takes a lot of time and work to make big shifts in your NPS score and likely significant investment as well. It is best to set realistic goals for the company and make targets of moving your NPS by small amounts in the right direction each year. NPS score is a tool that works best when it is about making internal changes that will ultimately benefit your customers, rather than worrying about what other company’s NPS ratings are.